Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
With over 6,000 recorded archaeological sites, up to 100 per square miles in some places, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is the most archeologically dense area in the United States.
Expanding the MonumentSince Canyons of the Ancients National Monument was established in 2000, The Conservation Fund has been at the forefront of conserving the land which contained the monument’s unique archaeological sites. Over the years we’ve helped the monument protect more than 8,700 acres within its boundaries, including both the largest and the most critical private inholdings containing Jackson’s Castle (first photographed by William Henry Jackson in 1874) and the Skywatcher Site, a 1,000-year old Ancestral Puebloan solstice marker. Since 2014, The Conservation Fund helped add over 2,160 acres to the Monument, including 4.5 miles of Yellow Jacket Creek and 1.5 miles of Trail Canyon, rare perennial stream corridors in this arid landscape.
Why This Project MattersCanyons of the Ancients National Monument offers unparalleled opportunities to observe, preserve, study and interpret the cultures of the American Southwest spanning thousands of years. The Monument is important to Ancestral Puebloan and other Native American cultures who maintain close ties to the sites occupied by their ancestors. The Monument’s dry uplands and riparian areas also provide habitat for a variety of wildlife species, including the Southwestern Willow flycatcher, Mesa Verde nightsnake, Long-nosed Leopard lizard, Twin-spotted Spiny lizard, mountain lion, peregrine falcon, golden eagle and Gambel’s quail.
“These land purchases are a very worthwhile and much needed investment. The properties being brought into public ownership are remarkable for their extraordinary natural, scenic, recreational, cultural, and historical value. Their acquisition will benefit the American people now and in the future.”—Former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar